Ambassador Lamberto Zannier of Italy took up the post of OSCE Secretary General on 1 July 2011.
Zannier is an Italian career diplomat. From June 2008 to June 2011 he was UN Special Representative for Kosovo and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). From 2002 to 2006, he was the Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre of the OSCE. Previous senior positions include Permanent Representative of Italy to the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague (2000-2002), chairperson of the negotiations on the adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (1997-2000) and Head of Disarmament, Arms Control and Cooperative Security at NATO (1991-1997).
The OSCE Secretary General is appointed by the Ministerial Council for a period of three years, which may be renewed for a further term.
According to the mandate, the Secretary General derives his/her authority from the collective decisions of the participating States. He/she acts as the representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, and as OSCE Chief Administrative Officer.
The post of Secretary General was originally created by the CSCE Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs at their Third Meeting, which was held in Stockholm on 14-15 December 1992.
The role and responsibilities of the Secretary General were further elaborated by subsequent decisions, including Ministerial Council Decision No. 15/04 from December 2004.